News Report 4 June 2006

2006 MotoGP Mugello

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5245 m
06 / 04 / 2006
Time to be confirmed

Rossi takes dramatic home victory at Mugello classic


The dramatic scenery of the Mugello circuit in Tuscany provided the backdrop to one of the most exciting MotoGP races in living memory today as Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi clinched his second victory of the season in a heart-stopping Italian Grand Prix. The local hero produced one of his best ever performances in front of the adoring 89,200 crowd, emerging from an intense battle with his compatriot Loris Capirossi (Ducati) and a host of other riders to take the chequered flag with a 0.575 second advantage after 23 laps of pure drama.

Rossi got an excellent start from the front row of the grid, passing early leader Sete Gibernau (Ducati) on the first lap and attempting to escape a hungry chasing pack. However, the Spaniard refused to lie down and after a brief battle between the pair the Italian took control to lead for ten laps. Capirossi soon recovered from a bad start and by lap fourteen he was in the hunt for the lead, passing both Gibernau and Rossi, who dropped back to fifth place as Marco Melandri and Nicky Hayden (both Honda) also came through. Within four laps Rossi was back on Capirossi’s tail and the pair went head-to-head in a thrilling finale, which saw the Yamaha rider snatch the lead on the last lap and open out a crucial gap that carried him to the line.
Rossi’s team-mate Colin Edwards, meanwhile, battled through another tough race after being run wide into the gravel on the second lap. The Texan fought back from last place to finish in the points in twelfth place but has lost ground in the championship, dropping to eighth. Rossi’s win moves him up to fifth overall, 34 points behind leaders Capirossi and Hayden, who are currently tied on points.

In addition to the activity on the track, Valentino’s dance around the Mugello hills were enjoyed today 1,500 Yamaha fans at the Factory’s Materassi stand. Every time the Yamaha riders passed the Yamaha tribune, the sound of the engines was accompanied by a standing ovation from a sea of yellow.

Valentino Rossi (1st; 42’39.610)
“That was for sure one of the toughest battles of my entire career. I got a really good start and after I passed Sete I tried to escape but it was impossible, he was so strong today. For a long time I didn’t know where Loris was because he had a bad start but once he arrived I knew I was in for a hard fight. I decided to let him pass and run behind him for a while but I didn’t realise so many other riders were so close and they all came through! Suddenly I was down in fifth and had it all to do again. It was just an amazing fight for everybody and I think it is fantastic that it went down to the final lap between two riders, two factories, two tyre manufacturers but just one Country! This is great news for our sport. If I had to bet on who would win the last lap I honestly wouldn’t have been able to choose. I don’t think I took a breath over the last two laps but I made it and I am unbelievably happy. To do it in front of so many fans, family and friends is a special emotion and I won’t be thinking about the championship tonight – just this wonderful race.”
Colin Edwards (12th; + 0’30.678)
“We made a dramatic change this morning and I went for the new chassis with Valentino’s settings because I knew the bike we had from yesterday was not going to be good enough for the race. Basically I braked a little earlier than normal into turn one and Makoto Tamada drafted up the inside, pulled straight in front of me and left me with nowhere to go but the grass. After that the race was just a test session for me really with the new chassis. It felt good but we need to adapt the setting to me because I didn’t have enough grip on the rear. We’ve got a day of testing tomorrow so we will have time to do that and get the chance to complete some of the work that we weren’t able to do during the Grand Prix.”

Davide Brivio - Camel Yamaha Team Director
“It has been a perfect day for Valentino and for Italy after this fantastic battle to the final corner. It was just what we needed after the bad luck of recent races – Valentino needed to win and you could see how much it meant to him. Yamaha have done a great job to bring our package back up to a competitive level and now I hope we can keep fighting for wins until the end of the season. My sincere thanks to all our staff because it has been difficult over the last few weeks but once again we have seen that this is a team that never gives in and this is a great reward for all the hard work and belief. Colin’s race didn’t go as we had hoped it might, after the problem he had on the second lap, but he’s taken some important information away from here and hopefully he can come back to the top in Barcelona next week.”

Disappointment for Tech 3 Yamaha Team in Italy
The encouraging signs of qualifying for the Tech 3 Yamaha Team turned to disappointment in the Grand Prix of Italy as Carlos Checa and James Ellison struggled throughout with tyre problems to finish in 15th and 16th places respectively at the undulating and technically demanding Mugello circuit situated in the picturesque hills of Tuscany.

Both Carlos and James had encouraging starts to be among a hard battle with a group of riders but after just a handful of laps encountered problems that negated their charge.

The team will remain at the Mugello track for a day of testing tomorrow.
Carlos Checa (16th, Fastest lap 1’51.652: lap 3)
“I am very disappointed in the result as I really expected that we would have a good race pace especially after what we learnt at the Le Mans test. We thought the tyre we chose for the race was a strong one but it only lasted a few laps. After three laps the performance dropped off, then after eight laps it dropped again and so for the final half of the race the feeling from the rear was very bad. “I was in a good battle with some riders on factory bikes and I was sure that I could stick with them and fight hard but unfortunately this didn’t last very long. “Again the problem is with the consistency of the rear tyre and this is why I couldn’t keep the right pace for the whole race. We tried one way to go and everyone was optimistic after the Le Mans test and what we learnt during practice and qualifying for this race. “Now we have lost that optimistic feeling so I guess we just have to keep on trying to improve. We have the test tomorrow so hopefully we can learn some more things and find another direction that we can move forward.
James Ellison (16th Fastest lap 1’52.224: lap 2)
“The race wasn’t too bad at the start. I got off the line well and picked off a few riders through the first few turns. I thought that I could get away from them and stick with Carlos but only a few laps later the rear tyre lost grip and I couldn’t maintain the pace of the opening laps. “It’s very frustrating as before the grip drops off, we know we can run with these guys and you can see where you are faster. We lose out when the tyres start moving about. “There are some good tyres in Dunlop. It’s a matter of finding the mixture and obviously going to all the different circuits it’s always changing. I’m sure for the test tomorrow we will get some better results but truthfully it is really, really frustrating not being able to race so hopefully we will find some solutions very soon and we can all get back to riding hard for the entire race.”

Herve Poncharal - Tech3 Yamaha Team Director
“Honestly this is a disappointing result because after qualifying yesterday we thought we would be much closer to Vermeulen an de Puniet . Although we did an ok start and the first few laps were quite quick, we lost grip so the second part of the race was quite long. Carlos tried everything but it was impossible to finish in a better place. After the good test in Le Mans and the first two days at Mugello we thought we would be much closer. We hope we will have good weather tomorrow for our one day test and we also have something to try from Yamaha. We just have to keep on working “For James his first three or four laps were quite fast as well but then the same thing happened, so it is all very frustrating. “We knew this year would be hard but to get a good direction that lifted the team and for this to happen is difficult to accept but this is racing and we have to understand that sometimes it will be very hard. We can just hope for better weather at the next race in Barcelona and that we can continue the direction we were heading before this race.”